Striker Griffiths produced a clinical finish before Patterson converted from a tight angle on the right inside 26 minutes as we made the most of the chances that came our way at Staplewood.
Goalkeeper and skipper Brandon Austin, the elder statesman of the group, produced a couple of smart stops as the home side looked to bring their fast-moving attackers into the game, but the unfamiliar central defensive pairing of Tariq Hinds and debutant Max Statham did well to keep them largely at bay.
The powerful Jonathan Afolabi rattled the crossbar twice from range as Southampton started to come into the game after the break, with substitute Kornelius Hansen pulling one back 11 minutes from time. But we maintained our composure to see out the victory – our first in three games in the Under-18 Premier League.
Both keepers were tested early on as Griffiths was denied by Alex Cull, while Austin was in the way of Michael Obafemi’s drive as he raced in behind. But on 10 minutes we took the lead. Griffiths latched onto possession 25 yards from goal, advanced into the area and finished crisply into the bottom corner.
We were pushing the Saints back in the final third and after Dilan Markanday dragged a shot just wide, we grabbed a second goal on 26 minutes as right-back Matt Lock burst onto the ball down his flank and knocked it through for Patterson (pictured, below) to lash in from the right angle.
Austin dived low to his left to keep out Will Smallbone’s strike from inside the area in Southampton’s best chance of the first period, but the hosts started to see more of the ball after the break and we were lucky not to concede on a couple of occasions in the early stages of the second period. Back to defend a corner, Griffiths headed onto his own bar, Austin tipped over Harlem Hale’s speculative shot and Afolabi powered down the left flank before hammering a shot against the woodwork on 69 minutes.
Griffiths turned Patterson’s cut-back just over at the other end in a rare opening for us but after Afolabi struck the bar again out of nothing, the Saints halved our lead with 11 minutes left. Christian Norton picked up the scraps out wide on the right and picked out the unmarked Hansen in the box, who converted from the right angle. Despite the setback, we managed the rest of the game well to ensure we took maximum points.
COACH SCOTT PARKER SAID
“I’m pleased because we’d come off of two defeats and I suppose I tried to put the boys in a real-world football situation. As much as we’re developing players here, of course we are, I wanted to give them some understanding that in first team football, after two back-to-back defeats there’s pressure on you to go and win the game. As much as we want to do the right things, develop and play the right way, I said that we needed to win the game and first and foremost, we did that.
“We were very positive in the first half, limited them to minimal chances and really controlled the game. In the second half we just fell off it a little bit and on another day, I’m sure their guys will have been a bit disappointed that it wasn’t 2-2. We did get in some good positions without really getting the cutting edge but they’ve hit the bar numerous times in the second half so overall there are plenty of things to learn but the massive thing is that we’ve come away and won the game. Putting the lads in that situation and understanding what it’s like, it was pleasing.
“The boys at the back did very well – Jamie Reynolds (midfielder) was playing at left-back, we had a full-back playing at centre-half and Max Statham came in today and I thought he did really well. We need to start trying to be a bit more flat line in games because at the moment we’re very up and down. It’s about trying to put our stamp on things and looking for a little bit more consistency in our performances over the 90 minutes, not being 10 out of 10 one minute and two out of 10 the next.”
Spurs U18s: Austin (c), Lock (Mukendi 68), Reynolds, Bowden, Statham, Hinds, Markanday (Pochettino 89), P Maghoma, Griffiths, A Shashoua, Patterson (Richards 81). Substitutes (not used): Thorpe, Oluwayemi (GK).
Attentions now turn to European football as we take on Borussia Dortmund Under-19s in the opening match of our UEFA Youth League campaign on Wednesday afternoon, kick-off 3pm. Fixtures in the group stage mirror those of the first team in the UEFA Champions League.